My wife set up a Twitter account over the weekend. She wanted to see what all the buzz was about. Her first question to me was, “How do I shop on Twitter?” I’m not sure that Twitter will make you a better shopper, but it will make you a better writer.
Twitter is not only a great tool to generate traffic to your ad agency’s blog/website and for networking, it can seriously make you a better writer and communicator.
According to legend, Ernest Hemingway bet his friends that he could write a complete story in only six words. After his colleagues put up their money against this bold claim, Hemingway wrote down these six words on a napkin, “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn”. Whether true or not, you must admit this illustrates the power of brevity.
Twitter imposes the discipline of compression. You are forced to communicate in 140 characters or less.
Jennifer Blanchard, is a creative and effective copywriter. Her blog, Procrastinating Writers, offers writing advice, motivation and inspiration for writers who procrastinate. She recently wrote an article on how Twitter can improve your writing ability. Here are a few of my thoughts following Jennifer’s list of the three ways Twitter makes you a better writer:
- Twitter forces you to be concise. You have to know exactly what you want to say then say it in as few words as possible. Good writers cut the fluff. Someone once told me that my writing style was no style. The person actually meant it as a compliment. What he meant was that I was always frank in my articles. That I didn’t mince words. I learned this lesson early, if I did the work to be as concise as possible my writing was more appealing. It was a benefit to my readers.
- Twitter forces you to exercise your vocabulary. Twitter compels you to use words that are shorter, words that are more descriptive, and words that get the job done in 140 characters or less. You’ll find that verbs generate the most shares on Twitter. I use a thesaurus daily when writting my Twitter messages. A well chosen word can paint a vivid picture or compel a Twitter follower to take action.
- Twitter forces you to improve your editing skills. Twitter challenges you to write a 140-character message and still get your point across in a way that inspires your followers to take action, to click on your link or to “retweet” your post. David Ogilvy, considered to be one of the greatest, “ad men” stated, “I am a lousy copywriter, but I am a good editor.” Your objective should be clear written communication that your audience can understand and respond to. You will soon discover how much difference proofreading and editing can make to your writing.